Best Vegan Visitor Recipes of 2008


ytd2008

JANUARY

The citrus obsessed that I am decided away with diets and and that pink grapefruits were way underused:
Red Grapefruit Curd Filled Donuts

Every winter likes the cold and every winter I battle it with something extra warm:
Creamless Potato Leek Soup


FEBRUARY

This Chili continued to warm + what would the Superbowl be without it’s tailgate chili?
Superbowl of Chili

And this was just goood:
Cape Gooseberry & Raspberry Clafouti


MARCH

Daring Baker’s sent me the perfect gift. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for my own birthday cake:
Perfect Party Cake

A March break get-away might have almost gotten me trapped by a snowstorm, but it was Montréal. I was hardly complaining:
Maple Madeleines


APRIL

It’s my daughter’s birthday in April and it just wouldn’t be tradition if she didn’t get her “Favourite Things Dinner”.  She’s six, I’ll give you one guess what her favourite thing is to eat:
Cheeseless Macaroni n’ Cheese

Spring and weeds. If you can’t beat ’em, EAT them:
Warm New Potato & Dandelion Salad

After breaking out the BBQ for the first grill of the season, I discovered one of the best soups ever with the leftovers:
Cedar Smoked Asparagus Soup


MAY

A peanut butter cookie bomb became one of my favourite desserts:
Peanut Butter Caramel Tarts

Mother’s Day brunch wouldn’t be complete without cake. And what better one than this coffee cake developed from my Nana’s own recipe box:
Also Goes Great With Tea Coffee Cake

JUNE

Squeaking it in for the last of the school year. I couldn’t resist buying more snacks for lunches, so I replicated them instead (even though I was made fun of for it):
Chewy Nut-Free Granola Bars

Getting sick of watching countless sandwich crusts go to waste, I came up with a solution. I saved the crusts and made bread pudding. Waste Not:
Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding
JULY

Summer’s in full swing with heat beaters and last minute evening parties. I took full advantage of the garden’s offerings with these easy recipes:
Rose Infused Strawberry Sorbet
Scape Salsa Verde Potato Salad
AUGUST

This was time consuming, but boy it was good:
Summer Pea Ravioli

The cherries were awesome this year, sweet and almost never ending. When I *almost* became tired of spitting pits, I decided I could finally bake with cherries more instead:
Cherry Streusel Muffins
SEPTEMBER

One of my favourite times of year. You know it, when there are too many tomatoes to eat at once. Never a fan of it as a kid, still I tried my own swing at it and will forever be changing my tune about tomato soup:
Heirloom Tomato Soup

Tree-fruit season YAY:
Gingered Peach Shortbread Bars
OCTOBER
Have I not yet mentioned how much I like autumn and the tree fruit? This was so easy, especially when tearing through a freshly picked bag of apples before our vacation:
Apple Upside-down Cake

Super good, super easy and quick autumn-y gnocchi with one of my most favourite flavour combinations:
Gnocchi with Butternut Squash & Spinach
NOVEMBER

Move over Charlie Brown, I’m the pumpkin patch junky. Never fails, ever November I find myself with, well, enough pumpkins to last me until next Halloween. This year I FINALLY made this:
Maple Pumpkin Butter

Everyone needs a quick go-to recipe to use up those browning bananas, and this one is it for us:
Ultra-Quick Banana Bread
DECEMBER

I took a scoop of that long over due pumpkin butter and added it to my favourite brownie batter. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?:
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Honestly one of the best gingerbread men I’ve ever bitten the head off of:
Classic Gingerbread Cookies

Wow. What a year! Wishing you and yours the happiest 2009!

Mushroom Barley Soup


Baby it’s cold outside.
We just returned home from a sunny family vacation and were greeted with snowflakes.
Not exactly the homecoming I had in mind.

Needless to say, our cupboards were pretty bare of all things fresh, so the visit to the grocery store filled the cart and this week’s menu with produce filled warmth. Planned soups, stews and stuffed pastas were top of mind.
Those first flickers of snow whipped my memories of the beach to thoughts of cold toes and hearty lunches.
Along with onions, celery and carrots, the mushrooms were on the top of the bag, so they were the first in the pot. An old favourite from a little school on Toronto Island, this I knew was sure to please.

GARTH’S MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Onions, finely diced
1 Carrot, finely diced
1 Celery Stalk, finely diced
1 pound Mushrooms, white button or crimini, sliced
12 Cups Water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 Cup Pot Barley
3 Tablespoons Tamari

Heat oil in a large stockpot.
Add diced onions to the oil and sweat
Add the diced carrots and celery to the onion and continue to sauté until soft.
Add the sliced mushrooms, water and salt.
When boiling add and tamari.
Reduce heat to a rolling simmer and cook until barley is puffed and soft, at least 30 minutes
Adjust seasoning adding more tamari or freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Daring Bakers Go Vegan!


Did hell freeze over? Nah. But there was a surprising lack of a dozen eggs and copious amounts of buttercream, with this months Daring Bakers, as seen in many of the past challenges.
Chosen by Natalie and Shellyfish, these lavash crackers and an accompanying dip, had to be kept within the perimeters of being vegan and possibly even gluten-free.

A simple recipe but long overdue. It’s relatively hands off, quick and perfect for impressing guests and serving some of this autumn’s great preserves.

With my disabled back, I’ve found myself slow cooking and preserving the summer harvest more than usual. Typically canning might be considered time consuming or precise, but I’ve been cooking, roasting and caramelizing and quickly canning once everything is nice and sticky.

For this batch of lavash crackers, I popped open my jars of roasted fig with caramelized sweet onion spread and a purple pepper jelly. However, with so many great topping suggestions, like cinnamon or caraway, I also tried a rosemary sea salt with pumpkin seed combo – yummy.

For more pictures and the full recipe, check out my other blog, Food+Photography or the many, many other Daring Bakers blogs.

Chi Chi Chi Chia


Chia seeds, which used to be mostly known for growing kitchy green hair, is now coveted as a omega-3 rich supergrain.

I always secretly yourned for the terra cotta collectable, so I wanted in on the healthy fun.

With a kid that has just started her career in brown bagging lunches, I’m certainly learning that it’s tough enough getting them to eat, let alone eat well. One food I know will not return home again are bagels and since I usually try to make my own of everything, I thought I’d give them a go.

CHIA SEED BAGELS

1 1/4 Cups Warm Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Yeast Granules
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds

Measure off the warm water and add the yeast and sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Leave the yeast mixture to sit, activate and bubble while you add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. (Alternatively, a large bowl and a wooden spoon still works:) Mix to combine.
Once the yeast has begun to bubble turn your mixer on low and continuously pour the yeast mixture over the flour and salt.
Keep the motor going, it should come together into a elastic dough. If you find it’s still sticking to the bottom of the bowl, feel free to toss in a small handful of flour and keep mixing.

Remove the dough, shaping it into a smooth ball and transfer it to a lightly greased, deep bowl to rise, loosely covered it with plastic wrap.
Let your dough rise, doubling in bulk, for about 2 hours or over night in the refrigerator, but bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.
Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Dust a knife in flour and cut the dough in half.
Cover one half and cut the other into 4 or 5 pieces.
Beginning with the first piece, roll out the dough into a long rope, about 1″ (2cm) in diameter, shaping into a ring and secure. Leave it to rest, covered, on a baking sheet while you continue with all of the remaining dough.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and bring a large pot of water onto boil.
Once the water is boiling, drop 2 – 3 of the bagels in for about 1 minute on each side.
Remove with a slotted spoon and return to a new, parchment lined baking sheet. Carefully sprinkle over the chia seeds and return to boiling the rest of the waiting bagels.
Flick or lightly spritz water into the oven and place the bagels on the center rack. Bake for about 5 minutes and spritz water into the oven again to create steam (and crispier bagels).
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes more or until golden.

Little Bit of This; Summer Meal Salad


Something wonderful about summer and forgetting about dinner.
An abundance of fresh food everywhere, leftovers from the weekend BBQ and a handful of herbs can create a quick, satisfying and remarkable dinner.

After grilling corn and attempting a sweet chili lime glaze recipe to serve up, I had one cob left over and a recipe that still needs a bit of tweaking for my tastes. I trimmed the cob of the kernels and, since it was already a little seasoned, I had a salad in mind. Dinner also left over a roasted red pepper, which was easy enough to dice, toss in a little handful of the bolting cilantro and I had a flavour direction for something.

For our next days lunch, I still needed a bit of protein and a bit of everything in between, so I grabbed for the quinoa. It’s quick cooking, so it gave me just the right amount of time I needed to toss together a dressing. Tossed together with a couple of handfuls of my favourite baby spinach and this salad was ultra quick, summery and so tasty.

SUMMER CORN & QUINOA SALAD

1 Cob of Corn, preferably grilled, shucked
1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper, roasted with the skin removed
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, packed, finely chopped
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Handfuls Baby Spinach Leaves, about 2 cups

DRESSING

Juice of One Lime
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1/8 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Whisper of Cayenne Pepper (less than a pinch)

Rinse the quinoa well and leave it to soak in a mesh colander for about 3 minutes.
Combine the drained quinoa with 2 cups of boiling water in a medium saucepan.
Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 7 minutes.
Lift the lid and check in on the quinoa. The water should be mostly absorbed and appear fluffy. If not, cover again and continue to cook for a couple of minutes more.
Once the water has been absorbed, fluff with a fork and leave it to cool while you prepare the remainder of the salad.
Skin, seed and dice the red pepper, added it to the shucked corn, in a large bowl.
Rinse, dry and finely chop the cilantro, adding it to the corn and peppers.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, and oil. Add the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix well.
Measure out 2 cups of the cooked quinoa and add it along with the baby spinach to the corn mixture, stirring to combine.
Pour over the dressing. Toss to coat, but be gentle not to overly bruise the spinach leaves.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.*
Turn out to a platter to serve.

*If going vegetarian, about 1/3 cup of crumbled feta will make the salad sing.

Little House On The Prairie.


Posting a school snack might be cutting it close but we began running out of the packable snacks. With a mere three days of school remaining for us, I was not about to run out and restock with packages, so I decided to make my own. Now of course I was prepared to catch flack for this. Since making bread at 1am the other day, (we were out & I knew I’d be too lazy to go to the store) I heard this: “We don’t live on the Little House On The Prairie, you know? Stores where they have jam, butter and bread are some of the many modern conveniences of the 21st century.”

And that’s from my husband. Cute.

My daughter has someone with a peanut allergy in her class, so keeping that in mind I had to get these to stick together with out anything nutty. The second strategy was actually getting the kid to eat them, so I tried to replicate the “original” that she’s used to; chewy, with chocolate and rice crisps.

Third, get them by her little brother and into the snack bag for school.

Wha? Thought I wasn’t looking because I had a camera over my eye, didn’t you? Caught ya.

I’ll warn you, these are sweet, but the kids, they li -iiike them!

NUT-FREE CHEWY GRANOLA BARS

2 Cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1 Cup Rice Krispies
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/2 Cup Safflower Oil
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Syrup
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries, or cherries or cherry flavoured cranberries
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Spray a 9″ x 12″ Pyrex baking dish with oil.
Combine the oatmeal, Rice Krispies, coconut, cranberries and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the agave, rice syrup, brown sugar and oil in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil.
Pour over the waiting oat mixture and mix well to coat.
Stir in chocolate chips last, so they won’t melt.
With clean, greased hands, press the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven to cool slightly. Cut into bars while still warm
Cool completely before individually wrapping.

Makes 12 bars.